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Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo

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Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about FONZ classes? Find answers to the most commonly asked questions here.

If a class has multiple dates and times listed, does my child need to attend the class all these days?

Weekday classes are taught in a series that runs for four or more consecutive weeks. You will register your child for one day of the week and then attend each session on that day of the week for the duration of the class. For these classes, the dates in the series will be listed one after the other—for example, Mondays: January 3, 10, 17, 24, 31.

Weekend classes and family programs may have content that is thematically linked, but the classes do not have to be taken together and may be taken as single entities.

WHAT IF MY CHILD HAS TO MISS A CLASS IN HIS SERIES? CAN WE ATTEND ANOTHER DAY OF THE WEEK?

Possibly and only after communication with the FONZ Education Programs office. If a class has reached its maximum enrollment, it is not possible for an additional child to join that class as a make-up session.

CAN A YOUNGER CHILD BE SIGNED UP FOR A CLASS INTENDED FOR OLDER CHILDREN?

No. All classes are designed for specific age groups using age-appropriate activities. Your child must meet the minimum age requirement for the class on the date of the first class. Please do not register your child for a class for older children. Registered children who do not meet the minimum age requirement for a class will not be permitted to attend and no refund will be given.

CAN MORE THAN ONE ADULT STAY WITH A TWO- TO THREE-YEAR-OLD CHILD IN A CLASS?

Due to space limitations in our classrooms, we ask that only one adult plan to accompany each child. If a second adult wishes to attend and there is room in the class, they may be able to stay with permission from the class teacher. Additional parents or guardians are welcome to join the class once it departs on the ZooWalk.

WHICH CLASSES REQUIRE A PARENT TO STAY?

FONZ requires that an adult remain with the child in classes for 2-3 year olds and 4-6 year olds. Classes for children ages 7 and above are designed as “drop-off” classes, though parents may join the class once it departs for the ZooWalk.

DOES FONZ PROVIDE THE CHILDREN WITH SNACKS OR DRINKS?

No, FONZ does not provide children with snacks or drinks due to allergy concerns. You are welcome to provide your child with a peanut-free snack and drink, and encouraged to do so in classes for 2-3 year olds and 4-6 year olds.

DOES FONZ HAVE A POLICY REGARDING PEANUTS?

FONZ follows a strict peanut-free policy in classes. If you provide your child with a snack or lunch, please ensure that it is free of peanuts and peanut products.

WHAT ARE THE EXPECTATIONS OF CHILDREN'S BEHAVIOR?

All children are expected to behave appropriately throughout a class. If a child is continuously disruptive, a parent or guardian may be called to help resolve the situation. If the child’s behavior does not improve, the parent or guardian may be asked to remove the child from the class. No refund will be provided.

CAN YOU ACCOMMODATE CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS?

If your child has special needs, please contact us before registering for a class. Special needs will be accommodated to the best of our ability, but please note that FONZ staff aren’t specially trained to handle children with special needs.

WILL CHILDREN HAVE DIRECT CONTACT WITH THE ANIMALS?

No. For the safety and welfare of the children and the animals, there is no direct contact between the two. All classes include a ZooWalk to visit an animal exhibit, but children will not be able to touch or feed the animals.

CAN YOU PROVIDE ASL/FOREIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETERS FOR PARENTS?

Unfortunately not. However, most of the classes are very hands-on and our teachers are willing to communicate via non-verbal methods. You may feel that an interpreter is not required.

MY CHILD DOES NOT SPEAK ENGLISH. IS THIS A PROBLEM?

Generally this is not a problem. Especially in classes for two- to three-year-olds, a good portion of classroom time involves hands-on activities that can be completed with a parent. A short story or poem may be read, which may be accompanied by pictures and occasionally animal objects that children can see and touch.

WHAT IS THE MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM NUMBER OF CHILDREN WHO CAN ATTEND A CLASS?

A class must have at least 5 children and no more than 12. Classes that do not meet the minimum enrollment may be cancelled. Participants will be notified and may choose to attend a different class or receive a full refund of their registration fee.

WHAT IS THE REFUND POLICY IF I HAVE TO CANCEL?

A 75-percent refund will be issued if notification is received by the FONZ Education Programs office via email or phone at least two weeks prior to the start of the class. No refunds or changes will be made thereafter.

WHAT IS THE POLICY IF THE ZOO IS CLOSED OR HAS A DELAYED OPENING?

If inclement weather causes the Zoo to close or open late, FONZ staff will notify participants via email with instructions regarding the class.